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Rethinking Workplace Norms to Combat Labor Shortage

Companies across the country are contending with persistent labor shortages, and customers are feeling their pain. To combat this ongoing labor shortage there are potential solutions rooted in flexibility and a willingness to consider rethinking workplace norms. 

Recent figures from Goldman Sachs indicate there is a shortage of 4.6 million workers in the current labor market. Reasons for the shortfall range from candidates and employees being sidelined by post-Covid health issues to a reticence to return to the office and leave a more flexible and family-friendly work-from-home environment. Some of these issues figure to affect labor numbers for years to come.

Many companies are adjusting to the new reality by branching out from a traditional permanent workforce model and embracing a contingent labor force made up of freelancers and contract employees – and with good reason. Organizations that hire only full-time employees can restrict themselves and create a situation where they may not have the resources they need. More and more, companies are turning to freelancers and contractors to solve staffing issues. 

There are a few adjustments employers can make to fulfill their staffing needs, while retaining existing employees.  

Redefine the concept of an employee. A growing number of workers are joining the gig economy, and to remain agile and well-staffed, companies are embracing this change. Additionally, companies are also leveraging part-time resources. That might mean allocating two part-time contractors to one FTE position, or outsourcing specific projects to contractors or freelancers.  

Offer flexibility. The pandemic reshaped the way workers think of and approach their workdays.  For example, a former 9-to-5, in-office employee may now have a healthier work-life balance after working from home much of the past two years. For some families, school and daycare situations have changed completely, and many are not willing to go back to the office full time. Employers can potentially engage this workforce by allowing employees to work remotely or work a designated number of days from home on a hybrid basis. Happy employees are productive employees, and rethinking workplace norms by accommodating the childcare flexibility needs of a working parent could be the difference between having a productive employee or an empty box on your org chart. 

Make the process easy. There is a lot of competition for labor these days. At the same time, many independent contractors struggle with juggling clients, billing cycles and collections. Streamlining all of it through a talent cloud service such as PeopleCaddie can make an employer more attractive to highly sought after independent contractors. Enjoying the flexibility of being a freelancer, while being paid like an employee can be a potent recruitment tool for companies. 

Create a community. It’s important that once a company begins to utilize contingent labor that contractors are held accountable for the quality of their work, while also affording them opportunities to learn and grow by collaborating with in-house employees. 

In the coming years, flexibility will be key for companies seeking to remain fully staffed and minimize turnover. Changing the way we look at employees is the first step. Embracing a contract or freelance model of employment for some, or even all, of their workforce will put organizations at the top of the list when it comes to competing for talent. 

Want to explore the benefits of a contract labor force? Contact PeopleCaddie here.

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